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  Issue #141

Just the thing after a long shop - unsolicited noise..

Mike's Pith & Wind - What the world needs
When I arrived here in Melbourne late in 1966, Australia was still firmly riding on the sheep’s back, although there were signs even then that marketing was going to be crucial in persuading the rest of the world to keep on buying our wool. Leaping forward to today we find that wool is still entrenched in the upper ends of the fashion market but that the ideas men in marketing have been snoozing for at least a couple of decades and demand could be described as steady at best.
Actually I don’t know if that’s true or not and I can’t be bothered checking up, but that’s my perception and for the purposes of this discussion that’s all that counts. Anyway, to start from the beginning, a few years ago there was a letter to The Age which I found to be almost repugnant in its plaintiveness but with which I also found a certain degree of empathy. He was complaining about his black socks and how they kept getting mixed up and were nearly impossible to keep sorted – because they were all black, of course.
I can’t remember if he said this as well, but I’m willing to bet they were black woollen socks, because if you happen to prefer woollen socks that’s about the only colour you can get them in – a little reminiscent of Henry Ford’s alleged quote re’ the Model-T, ‘Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black’. (Which actually would’ve been ‘in any color that he wants’ of course).
I would go further and guess that they.. read more

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Dick's Toolbox - Pirate's Day
Probably the first inkling would be a cry the crow’s-nest. ’Ship ahoy.” A tremor of uncertainty, the first seeds of doubt as to whether it was friend or foe. A small speck on the far horizon slowly resolving itself into a dreadful reality. Pirates. The distance would slowly close between the two ships, no matter how much sail was piled on. The weight of bullion and the bulk of a cargo ship made escape impossible. Then, I imagine, as they pirate ship would be upwind you would have noticed the smell. Unwashed, scurvy-ridden, pox-ridden male bodies sweating with the heat, fear and bloodlust.
To fight or to surrender? What were the odds? If you are a vast media conglomerate like Sony fighting pirates may seem the only course, but if you lived any time in the past two thousand or more years ago the answer was often different. Usually you ended up a slave and only occasionally at the bottom of the sea.
The Romans had a plague of pirates.. read more

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